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Samuel Harris Altman (/ˈɔːltmən/ AWLT-mən; born April 22, 1985) is an American entrepreneur and investor. He previously served as chief executive officer of OpenAI from 2019 to 2023 and as president of Y Combinator from 2014 to 2019.
Early life and education
Altman is Jewish, and grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. His mother is a dermatologist. At the age of eight he received his first computer, an Apple Macintosh. Altman's "childhood idol" was Steve Jobs. He attended John Burroughs School, a private school in Ladue, Missouri.
In 2005, after one year at Stanford University studying computer science, he dropped out without earning a bachelor's degree.
In 2005, at the age of 19, Altman co-founded Loopt, a location-based social networking mobile application. As CEO, Altman raised more than $30 million in venture capital for the company; however, Loopt failed to gain traction with enough users. In March 2012, it was acquired by the Green Dot Corporation for $43.4 million. The following month, Altman co-founded Hydrazine Capital with his brother, Jack Altman. Altman got scurvy during his work on Loopt.
Altman was the CEO of Reddit for eight days in 2014 after CEO Yishan Wong resigned. He announced the return of Steve Huffman as CEO on July 10, 2015.
Altman became a partner at Y Combinator in 2011, initially working there on a part-time basis. In February 2014, Altman was named president of Y Combinator by its co-founder, Paul Graham. In a 2014 blog post, Altman said that the total valuation of Y Combinator companies had surpassed $65 billion, including Airbnb, Dropbox, Zenefits, and Stripe. In September 2016, Altman announced his expanded role as president of YC Group, which included Y Combinator and other units.
Altman said that he hoped to expand Y Combinator to fund 1,000 new companies per year. He also tried to expand the types of companies funded by YC, especially "hard technology" companies.
In October 2015, Altman announced YC Continuity, a $700 million equity fund investing in YC companies as they matured. A week earlier, Altman had introduced Y Combinator Research, a non-profit research lab, and donated $10 million to fund it. YC Research has thus far announced research on basic income, the future of computing, education, and building new cities.
In March 2019, YC announced Altman's transition from the president of the company to a less hands-on role as Chairman of the Board, for him to focus on OpenAI. This decision came shortly after YC announced it would be moving its headquarters to San Francisco. As of early 2020, he was no longer affiliated with YC.
Altman co-founded Tools For Humanity in 2019, a company building a global iris-based biometric system using cryptocurrency, called Worldcoin. Worldcoin aims to provide a reliable way to authenticate humans online, to counter bots and fake virtual identities facilitated by artificial intelligence. Using a distribution mechanism for its cryptocurrency similar to UBI, Worldcoin attempts to incentivize users to join its network by getting their iris scanned using Worldcoin's orb-shaped iris scanner.
Further information: Removal of Sam Altman
OpenAI was initially funded by Altman, Greg Brockman, Elon Musk, Jessica Livingston, Peter Thiel, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Infosys, and YC Research. When OpenAI launched in 2015, it had raised $1 billion.
In March 2019, Sam Altman left Y Combinator to focus full-time on OpenAI as CEO. By the summer of 2019, he had helped raise $1 billion from Microsoft.
Altman testified before the United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law on 16 May 2023 about issues of AI oversight.
On November 17, 2023, OpenAI's board announced that it had made the decision to remove Altman as CEO. The board said that Altman "was not consistently candid in his communications." The Verge reported that a day after Altman was removed, the board was in discussion to bring him back. It has also been said that before Altman was removed, he was telling investors that he was planning to start a new company.
On November 20th 2023, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that Altman will be joining Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team.
Altman invests in technology startups and nuclear energy companies. Some of his portfolio companies include Airbnb, Stripe and Retro Biosciences. He is also chairman of the board for Helion, a company focused on developing nuclear fusion and Oklo, a nuclear fission company.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Altman helped fund and create Project Covalence to help researchers rapidly launch clinical trials in partnership with TrialSpark, a clinical trial startup.
During the depositor run on Silicon Valley Bank in mid-March 2023, Altman provided capital to multiple startups.
Recode reported that Altman might run for Governor of California in the 2018 election, which he did not enter. In 2018, Altman announced "The United Slate", a political project to improve housing and healthcare policy.
In 2019, Altman held a fundraiser at his house in San Francisco for 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang. In May 2020, Altman donated $250,000 to American Bridge 21st Century, a super-PAC supporting Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
After the success of ChatGPT, Altman made a world tour in May 2023 where he visited 22 countries and met multiple leaders and diplomats, including British prime minister Rishi Sunak, French president Emmanuel Macron, Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez, German chancellor Olaf Scholz, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, South Korean president Yoon Suk-yeol, and Israeli president Isaac Herzog. He stood for a photo with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.
Analysis for Sam Altman
1985-04-22 Unknown Time LMT
41° 52′ 41.2″ N 87° 37′ 47.3″ W
Chicago, IL, USA
1x Records. Last Queried Dec 2, 2023 12:08 AM GMT